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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

2023 Illinois State Fair sees highest turnout in years

Storm clouds roll over the Miller Spectacular Shows Midway at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Aug. 12, 2021, in Springfield. The 2023 Illinois State Fair saw over 700,000 attendees during the 11-day event. (Justin L. Fowler | Associated Press)

DeKALB– The 2023 Illinois State Fair set a historic high this past month with a turnout of over 700,000 attendees, making it the most highly attended fair since industry standards were put in place.

According to Illinois State Fair records, attendance resulted in an 86% increase of Multi-Purpose Arena ticket sales since 2021. Due to high sales of Mega and Jumbo passes, the fair saw a record-breaking high of $1.58 million in carnival revenue along with the introduction of discounted admission days throughout the week.

“Once again, the hard work of the Department of Agriculture and hundreds of dedicated fair staff have resulted in shattered attendance records, serving as a testament to the value of our increased Fairgrounds funding and the spirit of Illinois,” said Governor J.B. Pritzker.

Fairgoers from across the state made their way to the 11-day event to see numerous attractions including carnival rides, livestock judging and an auto race.

The recently renovated Multi-Purpose Arena played a part in hosting several concerts which brought in hundreds of thousands of attendees, despite the severe weather that occurred during the week.

“While mother nature will always be a driving force in attendance for any outdoor event, the 2023 Fair benefited from a return of programming at the newly renovated Multi-Purpose Arena, a result of Governor Pritzker’s $58.1 million dollar capital investment to address years of deferred maintenance on our historic state fairgrounds,” said Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello II.

Pritzker plans to set aside $80 million towards infrastructure investments on the fairgrounds such as building and road construction and roof replacements at several livestock areas. 

Plans for the 2024 Illinois State Fair are currently being made, which will take place August 8 through August 18.

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